published Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

'Gov. Nathan Deal suspends indicted CEO' and more Chattanooga region news

Deal suspends indicted CEO

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday that he has suspended indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.

The announcement came a day after a three-person panel voted unanimously to recommend suspension. A 15-count grand jury indictment charges Ellis with trying to extort campaign contributions from companies and their employees. Prosecutors allege he instructed the county’s director of purchasing and contracting to prevent some companies from getting business because they didn’t contribute to his campaign.

Ellis has denied any wrongdoing.

Deal said DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May will serve as interim County CEO.


Rock slide zone being repaired

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — State transportation officials will reduce a section of U.S. 129 to a single lane while crews stabilize a rock wall where a slide occurred last year.

The Smoky Mountains highway, known as “The Dragon” to motorcyclists who like to ride its curvy length, will have lane closures at mile marker 9.5.

The Daily Times reported the Tennessee Department of Transportation will begin lane closures Thursday night. A contractor will scale loose rock and haul it away, then install mesh netting to help contain any rocks that fall in the future.

The $685,000 project is expected to be completed by Aug. 31.


School system cuts bus service

HOOVER, Ala. — One of Alabama’s best-funded public school systems is ending school bus service to save money.

The Hoover city school board voted Monday night to eliminate bus routes for everyone but special education students beginning in August 2014.

Buses will run as normal during the upcoming school year. But officials say cutbacks will save $2.5 million annually after that.

A statement from the school system said the cuts are needed to save money during a period of declining revenues and increasing costs.


Governor pushes ratings system

ATLANTA — Officials are encouraging early child care and education programs to sign up for the state’s system that rates their facilities and helps parents make informed decisions.

Gov. Nathan Deal discussed the state’s first Quality Rated child care programs Tuesday. The voluntary system assesses the quality of child care programs through a star-rating system.

In 2012, officials hoped for 700 programs to sign up. Nearly 1,100 joined Quality Rated last year.

Ratings first went public July 1. Within the first two weeks, the rating website had more than 3,000 visits.

About 1,300 early care programs now participate. Quality Rated programs are eligible for free professional development, technical assistance and financial incentive packages.

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